I’ve been a member of the Second Light Network for women poets over a certain age (http://www.secondlightlive.co.uk/) for some years now but this was the first time I’d managed to attend their workshops and readings. I started my three day immersion in literature with a visit to the British Library's Writing Britain, Wastelands to Wonderlands exhibition (http://www.bl.uk/writingbritain). Lots of original manuscripts and great choices of prose and poetry to show how urban, rural, and watery settings define so much of Britain's literature.
A short rest in the peace of the BL courtyard (and in the sun!!) and then I was off the The Art Workers Guild for the Festival’s opening readings. I read two poems written this year for my online courses –it was good to have the benefit of the workshop process before taking them for their first public reading. So nice to meet other 2nd Lighters and to hear their poetry.
Thursday and Friday’s workshops were stimulating, with opportunities for writing and ideas for the next poem. Kate Foley led a discussion on words & topics that are supposed to be ‘not for use by a poet’!!! Rose Flint looked at women's words and Fiona Sampson considered the character of words and how we use them. Finally, some of Second Light’s latest competition winners read their prize winning poems and Myra Schneider launched her new collection: What Women Want. Myra’s work is so very well crafted and gets straight to the heart of matters, Her long poem about Caroline Norton is inspiration to anyone who wants to tell a long and complicated story in poetic form.
The sun kept on shining, Queens Square was a joy to retreat to for lunch and London buzzed with people enjoying being outside and warm after our cold, wet spring. My weekend began with a free jazz concert at the RFH before heading for home with lots of notes, ideas and another list of books to read. Unsurprisingly its been a slow day today … the paper, 8.9 coffee and the occasional pulling out of a weed.
NB My over the road neighbour has draped his garden wall with union jack bunting and large flags –yards of the stuff is fluttering wildly in the wind. Will it catch on?